It’s hard to believe, but many people, including some who occupy senior positions in corporate America, still doubt the value of PR and marketing. They should read this edition of CableFAX: The Magazine.

The landscape is strewn with examples of where PR and marketing were eschewed — to the detriment of brands, executives’ reputations and, most important of all, clarity of message. One example will suffice.

Late in March, after feuding for two years, erstwhile friends Tom Cruise and Sumner Redstone lunched at the Beverly Hills Hotel. While there was some PR — the papers were alerted that the two were supping — much ambiguity surrounded the event. A simple press release, like the one below, and follow-up phone calls to journalists, would have brought tremendous clarity to the story, resolving every conceivable question.

Lunch Bunch: Famous Duo Meets and Eats

BEVERLY HILLS, Mar. 27, 2008 — In a ritual as old as mankind itself, Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone and actor Tom Cruise ate lunch today at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel.

"Everybody has to eat, and lunch is one of the best ways to do that," Mr Redstone said afterward.

Asked by restaurant patrons why he agreed to lunch with Mr Redstone, who ousted him from Paramount Pictures two years ago, Mr Cruise said, "Sometimes you just have to say what the @#$*."

The men were seated at table 24, known in Hollywood as "the main stage." Their server was veteran waiter Arnold "Hecky" Bloom. "I’ve served the famous and the infamous," Mr Bloom said, "but this lunch I’ll remember always." [Note to journalists: Mr Bloom and his busboy, Mike deTomaso, are available for interviews, although we request that questions be limited to the Redstone-Cruise lunch since Mr Bloom must be home by 7pm PT, his wife insists.]

While perusing the menu, Mr Cruise told Mr Redstone he was looking vigorous. Mr Redstone accepted the compliment and compared his complexion to the color of the corned beef at The Beverly Hills Hotel, which he said was the best in town, but not as good as when Ivan Boesky owned the establishment.

The tenor of their conversation was cordial. Mr Redstone made positive references to Katie Holmes’ trim figure as Mr Cruise chuckled heartily. At 12:30pm, Mr Redstone offered Mr Cruise a taste of his chopped liver appetizer, which Mr Cruise accepted, indicating any bad blood between the two men had largely dissipated.

For the main course, Mr Redstone ordered fish du jour (carp prepared in a lemon reduction sauce with a sprig of basil — Mr Redstone asked that the sauce be served on the side). Mr Cruise ignored the lamb special and in a nod to Mr Redstone, ordered a tongue sandwich on toasted rye bread, crusts trimmed.

A small but friendly battle ensued when the check arrived. Mr Redstone persevered, but did not release financial details of the tip. Mr Cruise promised to get the check the next time, indicating to Hollywood insiders that indeed there was peace in our time.

[Boilerplate here] Lunch is the world’s leading meal, with more than 71 billion plates served in the U.S. alone each year. It was discovered sometime after the dawn of man by Adam; about three hours earlier he had hit on the concept of breakfast. James Bax, a 16th century golf pro, is credited with adding mobility to lunch, as he carried victuals in a sack, which became known as the bax or box lunch.

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